Directed by Crystal Moselle
One of the most moving documentaries I have ever witnessed, The Wolfpack follows a group of young people who have lived a sheltered life – to put it lightly. Rarely let outside of their house, situated in New York City, the world of film became a new realm for them to disappear into as they didn’t know the world outside. Their enthusiasm for film is infectious despite the conditions that caused them become so interested in the medium.
It is at times heartwarming to hear the very candid interviews given by the children, but the story is ultimately heartbreaking as we hear how little they have been able to explore the outside world. We also hear a lot from the mother, but not much from the father, who seems to have their mother under his thumb while at the same time having made the decision to lock his kids inside their house, with rare chances to explore the outside world. Hearing one of his children describe their father as a warden and their house as a prison is hard to watch, but one can’t help but admire these kids as they re-enact scenes from their favourite movies and in general have a positive attitude towards life. Despite the dark situation, they for the most part have smiles on their faces. Having been home-schooled, they don’t have any friends, and only have each other
During the documentary at one point we see them go outside as a group for the first time, and we feel their excitement. We feel their joy as they see a film in a cinema for the first time in their lives, and after so much time admiring film from inside their house, one can only guess the feelings they must have experienced after seeing the movie. At another point in their first trip outside together, after picking an apple from a tree, one of them comments that it is the best apple he has ever tasted.
I’m lost for words, I can’t think of much more to write about this incredible film. All I can say is that this is a documentary like no other, and could move the most emotionally stunted person. The dark ambient/post-rock/chamber-rock soundtrack is very apt as we learn more about their lives growing up, and see the hatred one of them begins to feel towards their father for locking them up like he did.
Go stream this now, you will not regret it. It is a short film that clocks in at around 90 minutes, but it barely feels an hour long as the subject matter is so visceral and emotional. This is a documentary that every person needs to see.
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